October 15 is Ada Lovelace Day
According to the Ada Lovelace Day Web site, the day was inspired by a study from psychologist Penelope Lockwood: “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success,” she said, “illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”
Ada Lovelace has been called the first computer programmer. She authored a program for the computer prototype created by Charles Babbage. Lovelace was the daughter of the infamous poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke. Millbanke encouraged her daughter's interest in science and mathematics in the hopes of quashing any creative tendencies that she might have inherited from her father. Her translation and annotation of an article by Luigi Federico Menabrea (Elements of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Machine) earned her a place in history.
For the past five years, Ada Lovelace day has raised the profile of women in STEM. Virtual and in-person events celebrate Lovelace and other women who have made contributions to our body of knowledge. This year, Brown University is sponsoring a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon to increase the number and quality of Wikipedia entries about women scientists.
Sources for biographical information:
"Ada King, countess of Lovelace." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/349551/Ada-King-countess-of-Lovelace>.
"computer." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/130429/computer>.
Meriwether, Doris H., and Meriwether Doris H. "Countess Of Lovelace." Great Lives From History: The Nineteenth Century(2007): 1. Biography Reference Center. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.